Six Things I Learnt From My Social Media Detox

In the final three months of 2018 my beloved dog, boyfriend's dad and my own Pops were taken ill. Really ill. And, with multiple trips to vets, hospitals and a spontaneous trip to the beach it was all a bit much.

Life can sometimes get a bit much - 2018 certainly taught me that. It also taught me to be a little more selfish with both my time and choices.

So, with freelance work, commissions and prep for clients on top of worrying something had to give. Unsurprisingly it was really easy to stop posting on here and on my Instagram, too easy in-fact that I continued my social hiatus for the entire Christmas holidays (and a whole month after...).

I happily let my battery die and regularly lost my phone somewhere between my bedroom and the lounge. After working non-stop since June renovating my house and working every job that came my way to pay for the renovations I decided to take two weeks off.

For these two weeks I wholly neglected checking in on Instagram and found myself pulling away from the internet. I stopped endlessly scrolling and worrying about what to post or what I could post and just went to drinks with friends, played board games with my family and slept with little Arch at the end of my bed. I took less than ten pictures. I didn't consider what I'd have shared on my stories nor, what I'd wear based on how it would photograph.

I enjoyed my digital detox so much that I extended it past Christmas, deciding not to post on Instagram - bar one professional post - until February.

Taking the last six weeks off social media has been SO liberating. I'd become so saturated in the same imagery, same accounts and same narrative that it's only really been within the last two weeks that I've started to feel a little more me.

So, here are the six things I learnt in my six weeks off-line:

1, The things you see and think you need won't make you happy.
Being saturated by so many beautiful successful people wearing beautiful things in beautiful places doing fun things had increased my want for more things. A nicely tiled bathroom, a designer bag, a velvet sofa, a trip to the Maldives - side bar, seriously who wasn't there in December?! - a hot bod and longer hair were all on my list.

But the less I saw and the less I involved myself in it all, the more I realised that I truly didn't really need any of the things - bar the trip to the Maldives. This stuff had saturated my subconscious into thinking that because I didn't have these things I needed them.

Having all the nice things and noone to share them with would be no fun, spend time with your favourite people now and (hope) the nice things come along at some point.

2, Reducing your screen time is always a good thing.
If you commute anywhere and have ever had to endure a journey without your phone you'll know how tragic it is when you realise how completely consumed everyone around you is by their phone. Ironically you only really notice because you're without yours but its truly eye-opening.

Now, I'm not suggesting you engage in conversation on the tube (lol) but taking a book with me and reading something that wasn't on a screen or listening to a podcast (I'm obsessed and may compile a little list of my favourite few that get me through the day/week) was a nice break from scrolling.

3, Life's nice offline.
Opting to use my phone less and leave it within my bag when I was with friends felt easier when I wasn't using Instagram. Instead of sharing stories of what we were up to as I'd have usually done or, at least a snap of what we'd eaten, we just did everything as usual without documenting it - which was nice.

I was awful before all of this and would often spend an entire car journey checking emails, posting and responding to people, planning future posts and captions, sometimes ignoring my poor boyfriend as he drove us somewhere. It was so rude and I never gained anything by choosing to engage with my phone over him.

4, Share what makes you feel comfortable.
Without making a conscious decision I've always kept my relationship off social media and always get a little creeped out when I see that 40+ people clicking on my sister-in-law's name when I've shared a snap of her beautiful children. It's definitely a little weird and after watching YOU, I was even more creeped out.

Trying to find a medium where I feel completely comfortable with what I've shared and how I'm sharing it is something I'm looking to explore more this year. I feel like there's a trend for over-sharing for the sole sake of appearing a little more #relatable and that's just not me.

4, If an account or person makes you feel less than, unfollow them.
Reconsidering who and what I'm engaging with is something I connected with straightaway, immediately unfollowing accounts which left me feeling a little less than personally and aesthetically.

I think its important to have visual goals to help maintain your motivations but, it can get a little too much. Life's too short and I don't think its healthy to keep something non-essential in your life that makes you feel sad/anxious/frustrated or less than.

5, Mix it up.
If, like me, you feed is monopolised by one major interest mix it up. Follow accounts like @pleasehatethesethings and @beigecardigan for lols and empowering accounts like @livpurvis' @theinsecuregirlsclub so your feed isn't entirely saturated by spenny outfits.

6, Take your time.
Taking time away was a reminder that noone really shares their failures online and when they do, it's only after success in another field or with another project. Don't feel rushed by the internet or the pressure it can bring, take your time.



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